Case Study: Budderfly + Sonic: Energy Efficient Upgrades

Outsourcing energy management to Budderfly saves owners time and money.

Removing the Friction:

Sonic Owner Saves 36,000 kWh in Monthly Energy Usage by Outsourcing Energy Management



In 2022, Sonic franchisee Spencer Hart joined the Budderfly program, implementing Budderfly solutions at all 5 of his Long Island, NY locations. After reading an article about Budderfly’s partnership with a Dunkin’ franchisee that resulted in better savings and optimal outcomes, Hart realized he needed help. He had hired experts for every aspect of his business—electricians, plumbers, engineers— but he’d never considered outsourcing his energy management. 



Before partnering with Budderfly, Hart was handling everything—the bill management, installation coordination, vetting of vendors and solutions, and all the other small intricacies that are involved in energy management—himself. On top of the time required to manage all of this, he was burdened with maintenance fees, installation fees, and the cost of the equipment.

Finding a fully-outsourced solution that would allow him to offload the project management, installation, and equipment maintenance for his businesses–ultimately giving Hart hours of time back to focus on other aspects of business operations and development. Plus, working with an energy-as-a-service partner could save him an average 30% in utility usage. 



After performing an extensive assessment of each of Hart’s Sonic locations, Budderfly offered Hart a suite of energy-efficiency equipment upgrades and technology solutions, at no upfront cost. These solutions aim to simplify energy management, reduce carbon emissions, and increase savings. Budderfly provided all the capital for the upgrades, allowing Hart to cut utility bills without the financial stress he would have incurred had he managed upgrades in-house. Plus, by taking over and managing Hart’s utilities, Budderfly simplified his billing, leaving him with one streamlined payment per month and providing full transparency into his monthly savings. 



Budderfly provided the capital for Hart’s upgrades, including HVAC enhancements, LED lighting, refrigeration controls and more. On average, Budderfly invests $26,000 in each Sonic location, allowing owners like Hart to access high-quality energy equipment and technology while preserving their capital for other operational priorities.


While capital preservation was a top priority for Hart, his main goal was to find a partner that could source, install, and manage all his energy equipment. By providing an ecosystem of energy management solutions, Budderfly helps Hart align his business goals with optimal outcomes like reduced energy usage, better customer and employee satisfaction, and increased savings. Plus, Budderfly’s streamlined billing provides one single monthly payment, as well as a snapshot of his previous utility bills, prior to partnering with Budderfly, for comparison.  


Budderfly monitors Hart’s locations, providing reporting to ensure he can find the perfect balance of ongoing customer and employee comfort with less energy waste. Using the Budderfly Customer Portal, Hart can see data and insights on how his equipment is working to keep his buildings as energy efficient as possible.

Hart can also set up alerts for various temperature settings, so he can know when a room gets too hot or cold and may need a manual setting change—all of which can be controlled right from his cellular device.

Sonic's Energy Savings


Hart’s partnership with Budderfly brought him a stronger sense of control over his stores' energy usage, enabling him to be more sustainable and provide better comfort to his employees and customers. He has recently added his two Jersey Mike’s locations to the Budderfly program and worked with Budderfly to get solar panels installed on the canopies at four of his Sonic locations, projected to produce ~62,000 kWh of energy per year. Hart plans to continue growing and expanding his business portfolio, and Budderfly will continue to partner with him every step of the way.  



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